In Search of a New Career

Mojo Jojo

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 3, 2002
Messages
2,117
I would be interested in getting into the business of raising and selling bugs. A mom and pop type petstore would probably be out of the question, as I don't think that I would make very good money. I don't know if getting a job in a mega petstore such as Petco or Petsmart as upper level management would be too much of a help either, as I don't think I would be able to be around that animals as much as the hourly people would. :?
 

Code Monkey

Arachnoemperor
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Jul 22, 2002
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3,786
Unfortunately, you're not going to make much money regardless of the scale you do it at. The hobby just isn't big enough to be making a living at it for the most part. I know that most of the big online vendors have regular jobs and the invert thing is just an overly developed hobby/second job to make supplemental money. If you think about it, just to pay *you* a half-way decent salary of $40K/year, you'd have to sell about four tarantulas a day, every day. That's not even taking overhead of store fronts into account.
 

rknralf

Arachnolord
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Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
664
I agree!
I think most of us attempt to breed and share our tarantulas more out of love of the hobby than for any huge monetary gains. The only thing I hope to do by selling any spiderlings is just to cover the cost of caring for them and to support the rest of my tarantula hobby.
As for management of a Pet Store. I think any pet shop would benefit greatly by having someone knowlegeable in invertibrates and other animals. I've seen too many tarantulas in deplorable conditions at pet shops that didn't have to be that way. It certainly wasn't for lack of facilities, but appearred to be purely out of a lack of knowlege on how to properly care for their animals.
 

Mac

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 4, 2002
Messages
9
I would really like a job working with inverts also. I am going to start school in Jan. but I only have my GED so I have to go to a community college...which isn't too bad but they don't have many biology classes or anything. I guess I will have to settle for Getting my teaching degree and having a T as a class pet :(
I was actually thinking about packing up me and my T's (and ferrets and squirrel!!!) and moving to LA California...but how would I find a job and live on my own out there and I don't know if I could do it...I bet there are a lot more options out there though.
 

Valael

Arachnodemon
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Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
756
Well, uh...The petstore here in Collinsville is really the only one in the area like it. Sure, petsmart and petco have small, common lizards. But this place has monitors of almost every sort, many types of boas, pythons, frogs, turtles, fish, and even inverts (Well, just a few Ts and a couple millipedes)


But it's just a mom and pop shop, pretty much. The guy bought it from someone (it was a petstore when it bought it, too.) and fixed it up, which was a lot of work, but it seems worth it: He gets a lot of business now. And with a few customers spending $1,000 a week/month, he makes decent cash. He said he was at about a quarter of a million for this year.



It seems like you can get decent cash out of it, you just have to be willing to work hard at it. Oh, and lack of competition makes it easier, too :p

Of course, he breeds a few of his animals also, which is just more money for him.
 

Code Monkey

Arachnoemperor
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Jul 22, 2002
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I think I saw over on Petbugs you mentioning a GED and community college. I'll be blunt, and there's nothing personal meant by it, just giving you the experience of someone who has a B.S. in bio, some grad school, over 4 years working in professional labs, etc.: I would not pursue the professional, degreed angle at all unless you honestly believe your past academic performance was a total fluke.
College at the most basic level takes 10X the work and dedication of high school, to get a job working with inverts that actually pays a living wage and isn't just another USDA/F&G gov't job where you measure crop pests and suggest treatment protocols is going to take not only a PhD, but a LOT of drive and ingenuity on your part and still require a fair amount of luck. The research field in non-applied science is pretty damn small in America and, with universities getting their budgets cut every year, isn't going to be improving any time soon.

If you really want to work with inverts as a career and make a living wage, self-employment in the pet industry is your best bet. But, like I highlighted above, just inverts is unlikely to cut it. You would have to have a much wider spectrum of animals to maintain the sort of volume sales you need. Fortunately, right now is not that bad of a time to be starting up a business in the pet industry if you're smart and hard working. The Petcos and Petsmarts killed off a lot of the mom & pop shops in the early 90s but now the fact that they don't carry any variety of living pets is coming back to haunt them. If you can provide those services they can't meet, then there is room for success.
 

VI6SIX

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 14, 2002
Messages
64
I'm probaly the only full time employee in the T business (work for John Hoke) and it wasn't school or training that got me the job ....it was being in the right place at the right time and showing John I was dedicated to helping make e-spiderworld the best it could be.
My advice is if you want to work with inverts the private business is the way to go ,but it takes a fat freakin bank roll to get started (or be a lucky little twit like me)and you got to be sure you want to live tarantulas(I spend more time at the office than at home)
SO if you're serious you better start stock pileing T's ,start some decent breeding projects and try to figure out something to set yourself apart from the crowd
hope to see you up and running soon
 

Mac

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 4, 2002
Messages
9
"I think I saw over on Petbugs you mentioning a GED and community college. I'll be blunt, and there's nothing personal meant by it, just giving you the experience of someone who has a B.S. in bio, some grad school, over 4 years working in professional labs, etc.: I would not pursue the professional, degreed angle at all unless you honestly believe your past academic performance was a total fluke. "

Okay...yes I have my GED...but that doesn't have anything to do with my academic performance...it was more of my situation so please do not make assumptions that I just flunked out or something. When I am determined to do something....I will do it and excel.
I don't only want a career with Arachnids...I am into all sorts of animals....but I would like inverts to be in the mix somewhere. I guess I could open my own store...but I don't really have the cash to do that. A lot of our local shops are so gross...they are dirty and the smell will make you gag. I guess if I could set up some conveniently located CLEAN low priced store with a lot of variety and knowledge on what I was selling it might work. Money is the biggest issue in my life right now...I dont even know how I am going to pay for my college classes I am taking in Jan!
 

VI6SIX

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 14, 2002
Messages
64
Good luck Mac and don't let people get you down not every one understands what its like to not have some one else put you through school er even help you through H.S.
but things like that just make the victorys that much sweeter
 

Code Monkey

Arachnoemperor
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Jul 22, 2002
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Originally posted by Mac
"I think I saw over on Petbugs you mentioning a GED and community college. I'll be blunt, and there's nothing personal meant by it, just giving you the experience of someone who has a B.S. in bio, some grad school, over 4 years working in professional labs, etc.: I would not pursue the professional, degreed angle at all unless you honestly believe your past academic performance was a total fluke. "

Okay...yes I have my GED...but that doesn't have anything to do with my academic performance...it was more of my situation so please do not make assumptions that I just flunked out or something. When I am determined to do something....I will do it and excel.
Did you see any assuming there? What I gave was a genuine warning as someone who has been through the academic wringer and knows how much *which* school you go to matters for many majors and what the sort of requirements you would have to fulfill to achieve the sort of goal you expressed. Fine, your "academic performance" was a fluke, which was exactly the point I tried to make. If you want to pursue college from a biology angle, that's your perogrative, I just was trying to make clear that if your GED had been because of academic issues that Las Vegas odds were that you were in for a disappointment because the truth of the matter is that with straight As in H.S., 1600s on your SATs, and 3.5 all the way through a top notch college, you would still be in for a disappointment most likely if what you genuinely wanted to do was work with animals without being driven and lucky.
 

Chris

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 9, 2002
Messages
284
Tarantula dealer is only a sideline for me... I dont think I could ever make a good living at it full time!

It takes the initial investment and HOURS of long tedious work to make just a few bucks. I definately would not be a tarantula dealer if I didn't love the hobby. The work doesnt seem as bad when you love what you are doing though.

I basically run my business out of my apartment... which poses no problem because I don't actually have any customers coming to my door (gotta love e-business)

I would really like to someday have a small pet shop specializing in exotics... basically a warehouse outlet for locals thats tied to my e-business.... but thats a long wayz away!
 

Mojo Jojo

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 3, 2002
Messages
2,117
Well, I am sending my resume in to a place that is hiring field biologists that is currently dealing with desert tortoises. Sure it isn't bugs, but it would be good experience doing field work. I have been considering getting a Master's of Science in Biology.

My bachelor's has nothing to do with science and neither do any of my past jobs. However, I contacted my Ecology professor and another professor, to see if they would write me letters of recommendations to get this job. One already contacted me back, stating that he would.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
 

Vys

Arachnoprince
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Joined
Sep 22, 2002
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1,571

College at the most basic level takes 10X the work and dedication of high school,
I hope you don't mean ' in general, for every kind of college education' :)

College for me is just a redistribution of actual time studying..and I know several people like that..there's bound to be some places (some people) like that in the US?

Biology field is as hopeless here though to get relatively good work in. In Oz though..
 

Wade

Arachnoking
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Aug 16, 2002
Messages
2,933
I was a fine arts major, so for me college was actually less work than high school ;P , but then again, I ended up with a virtually useless degree.

One way to get a job working with animals is to start out as a volunteer at a museum, nature center, zoo, etc. Many of these places like to promote from the inside, so if a position becomes available, you've already got your foot in the door. Even if you don't get a job there, it's good experience for the resume.

Wade
 

Mac

Arachnopeon
Joined
Nov 4, 2002
Messages
9
There really isn't any job opportunities like that around here. I have really wanted to get out of here for awhile....where I live it's not even a City or a Town....it's a Village!!! Where...in the US...are the most job opportunities for this kind of field?
 

Wade

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
2,933
Right off the top of my head, I'd say Florida...simply because there's a lot of zoos and other simmilar exhibits, both privately and publicly run. There's also a zoo management school in Florida (www.ZooSchool.com), but I have no idea if going there would actually help you get a job or not. There's always a classified ad for them under the employment section in "Reptiles" magazine.

You should also check the help wanted ads at the AZA (American Zoo and Aquarium association) website (I think it's aza.org, but if not do a search). The problem there is that they're usually looking for someone with appropriate degrees and a lot of experience. That's why I suggested going the volunteer route, after they already know you you'll have a better shot.

Wade
 

zoobugs

L.D.50
Old Timer
Joined
Jul 19, 2002
Messages
101
As someone who is already in the zoo biz, I can say that having a degree and some experience are just the basics when applying for a zoo job. Not to mention that most zoos are banking on the "excitement of the job" as its major selling point and pay fairly poorly compared to other college grad jobs. In other words, you have to love what you do and don't worry about pay, benefits, perks, etc. That's not to say I don't love my job, I'd rather do this than anything else, but after the "newness" of working at a zoo, the reality of bill paying and eating really kick in. I'm at one of the higher paying zoos in the country and I only make $45,000/year. Seattle is another high paying zoo, and there are a few more, but the majority pay around $18-22,000 annually. To me, that's not much when they ask for post-grad work and more just to get started. And every zoo usually has a stack of resumes of hopefuls just waiting for the chance. But, if you really want it and keep plugging away, you'll get in.
 
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